30th Italian Baja World Cup

Italian Baja, Al Rajhi’s Hilux at its 4th title

Never say never. And overoad’s stars know this very well, always on the edge in every competition. Step in the FIA Country Baja World Cup, the Italian Baja - that celebrated in great style its 30th anniversary (1993-2023) through a gala dinner, with tribute videos from Pierre Lartigue, Jean Louis Schlesser, Stephane Peterhansell e Jutta Kleinschmidt, and a lot of political personalities and race contestants - ended yesterday with Nasser Al Attiyah, already penalized saturday with 2’ for an infringement on the track, stopped in the last section of the leg by an issue to the differential of his Toyota Hilux Gazoo Racing. Unexpected gift for his great rival Yazeed Al Rajhi on his Hilux Overdrive, who pushed on the accelerator and went confidently to the finishing line, closing with a total of 4:41’12’’3.


(photo M.Zuin)

For the Saudi driver it’s the third consecutive victory and the fourth personal title (the first in 2014), reaching Lartigue’s record (1994-1997) - the Doha sniper, this time second at 9’27’’7, promised to come back to even the score. On the lowest step of the podium the Portuguese Joao Ferreira on X-raid Team’s Mini Cooper Works Plus, with a gap of 12’39’’2. His best time (7’22’’8) in friday’s “Zoppola” prologue (10 km), after that the two Arab knights accelerated, lifting a lot of dust. Saturday Al Attiyah’s strike (1:33’51’’4 e 1:28’49’’9) on the double “Pasch” (131 km), that dig a hole of 1’37’’, then converted into a “debt” of 22’’3 form Al Rajhi after the penalty given by the stewards. Yesterday the end of “Dignano” (others 131 km) saw a role swap: Yazeed first with the Hilux Overdrive, chased by Nasser, who on the Madrisio bridge was again ahead, but then was slowed down after multiple fords on the Tagliamento, giving away a 9’’5’’4 - the sixth time of the leg. Mechanical issues ousted Polish Krzysztof Holowczy’s Mini, while Toyota’s supremacy can be seen also in Argentinian Juan Cruz Yacopini fourth position . Fifth overall and first in T4 the Brazilian Cristiano Batista De Sousa, sixth overall and first in T3 the compatriot Otavio Sousa Leite, both on Can-Am Maverick. Seventh overall Amerigo Ventura’s Yamaha Quaddy, the best among Italians.


Codecà e Ventura rise and win

The Italian Baja changed the tricolor rankings. After Mengozzi and Buttò’s KOs, now Bordonaro is leading the cross country championship, among the SSVs Tomasini is the new leader


 (photo A.Del Col)

Cruel selection, without looking anybody in the face. The Italian Baja confirms itself as a really tough challenge and the first to pay the price was Manuele Mengozzi (Toyota Hilux Overdrive), who presented himself as a leader of the Cross Country Baja Italian Championship. He was stopped right away by an “off road” excursion in Friday's prologue.
Green light to the Suzuki Vitaras in prototype and factory derivative version, with Lorenzo Codecà (T1) back to glory after his prolonged fasting. He gained a lot of points, putting him back in the race for the title. Special gratification for Alberto Spinetti (T2), place of honor and the consolidated record of the production trophy, despite some mechanical issues. Many issues for the defending champion Alfio Bordonaro (T1), who ended in a third place that now puts him ahead of Spinetti and Codecà in the provisional ranking, with Mengozzi fourth. All close one to the other, so the Baja Vermentino and Marche will be decisive.


(photo A.Del Col)

It was a spectacular race for the SSV sector, but also a quite gory one - only for the bruised vehicles, enviable safety cells. Because, at the Italian Baja, some tonneaus were definitely sensational, but without any consequence for the crew. Federico Buttò was forced to withdraw with his bruised Can-Am, ending the dream of glory in his home race, where he initially showed up as leader of the ranking. Some problems for Amerigo Ventura as well, but his Quaddy Yamaha went strong on the river beds - the fury was enough to catch up on the points lost in the championship after the disqualification in Greece.


(photo 2emmephotorace)

The victory in Pordenone, with a coefficient of 4 capitalized to the full, takes back the defending champion close to the first position, now occupied by Andrea Tomasini, teammate and third in the ranking. Second position for Andrea Castagnera, rightfully satisfied with his placement, while the former champion Elvis Borsoi (both on Can-Ams), who has many fans in Pordenone, struggled for many difficulties.


(ph. G.Vardanega)

Carlo Ragogna Italian Baja Press Office

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